Monday, January 16, 2012

Dinner during Dora: The Fish Hater's Fish Tacos

I've written before about how I am a partially reformed picky eater. One of the types of food that I still really don't like is fish.  This puzzles and frustrates my husband, who really likes fish. So, I've been trying to find ways to gradually introduce fish into my diet. Eventually, I may be able to eat relatively unadorned fish. Right now, though, I have to find recipes that mask the fish taste.

And so I present the Fish Hater's Fish Tacos. Not only do these not taste at all fishy, but they also are ridiculously fast and easy to make.

Fish Hater's Fish Taco's


~0.5 lb mild white fish. Halibut works well. I suspect tilapia would, too, but my local supermarket does not carry any tilapia that is rated as sustainable by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I've also used Dover sole, which does OK, but is a little too flaky. If you like fish, you might like these with salmon. If you don't like fish, don't listen to the fish lovers who tell you that salmon doesn't taste fishy. It does.
1 tbs sesame oil
2/3 cup island teriyaki sauce. I use Soy Vay Island Teriyaki Sauce. I think you could also make your own.
grated cheese
shredded greens
diced cilantro
chopped pineapple (something I'm going to try adding next time I make this recipe)

  • Slice the fish into bite size pieces

  • Heat the oil in a skillet on high
  • When the oil is hot, add the fish. Cook ~1.5 minutes each side (the halibut browned nicely. The sole did not)
  • Add 1/3 cup of the island teriyaki sauce. Mostly boil the sauce off while turning down the heat to simmer (I have an electric stove, so reducing the heat from high to simmer takes time- if you have a gas stove, you'll probably want to boil on high for a bit and then turn down).
  • Add the remaining sauce, and simmer covered for 5-10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, dice the cilantro, shred the greens, chop the pineapple, etc.
  • When the fish is done, put the tortillas on a plate and microwave for ~20 seconds to make them warm.
I serve these disassembled- i.e., everyone chooses their own taco toppings from bowls on the table.

And by everyone, I mean me and my husband. Neither child has agreed to even taste these yet. We have them with sweet potato fries and they are both partial to "tacos" made out of nothing but cheese, so they don't starve.

Source: I made this one up. I was inspired by the Yaki tacos at Islands, though.

Who eats it: Just the grown ups, so far. Petunia will eat my sloppy joe tacos, though, so I'm hopeful that she'll eventually try these. I suspect Pumpkin will be like her mother, and will be trying to add fish into her diet when she's 40. But maybe one of these times she'll surprise me.


  1. ooh, i need to try the fish part of these. i have yet to find cooked fish that i like. (except deep fried).

    And i'm so sad you mention Islands. I miss that place so, so much. It's a tie between that and In N Out burger, neither of which we have in Seattle :(

  2. Fish tacos sound interesting. I've never tried anything like that - mostly if I've seen them they come with mayo which is the one thing I really refuse to eat.

    We had a fish meal last night that definitely qualifies for the 'Dinner during Dora' time frame. I'm not a huge fan of fish so I was looking for something that had a nice easy, non-cheesy sauce. It was so fast to make, that I have a strong feeling it's going to go into fairly high rotation:
    My only variation to the recipe was to sprinkle fresh thyme over the veggies before baking instead of using parsley.

    The lemon mustard dressing and olives really tone down the fishiness (we used NZ Ling). I liked it, my husband thought it was a little bland (he probably needs to add chilli and more olives to his serve) and Moo refused to eat it because I made the mistake of serving it with bread (and she won't eat anything else if she sees bread).

  3. zenmoo10:27 PM

    That URL didn't work. Here's another try

  4. zenmoo10:31 PM

    Stink. Still seems to be cutting off the end.

    If you go to the recipe is called "Baked Fish on Vegetables (low fat)" and it takes about 5 minutes prep + 15 min cooking time (it says 25 to 30min cooking time, but if you've got thin pieces of fish, it's much quicker. You just need to slice the veggies a bit thinner than in the picture).

  5. paola2:09 AM

    I never ate fish growing up except for my 'nonna's' Easter Baccala (cod) dish, once a year. My Mum was 'allergic', or at the very least disgusted by fish smell, so I never ate any seafood until later in life. Hubby, is a big fish lover and on the lookout for good cholesterol and so I am starting to incorporate fish in our diet.

    We regularly eat oven-baked salmon ( done with olive oil and sea salt) with potato, sweet potato and parsnip mash, which is Zoe's current favourite recipe.This dish takes no more than 20 minutes and because it is cooked in the oven, doesn't require much clean up afterwards. Smells less than pan fried too.

    I also do a pseudo teriyaki tuna dish (Marinate tuna in equal amounts of red wine and soy sauce, together with some garlic and ginger), which I served with stir fried veggies and fragrant rice. This takes around the same time as above.

    Another regular fish dish is cod fried either in a tomato sauce or with onions. The onion version is super yummy and again, takes no more than 15 minutes from start to finish.

    Unfortunately, the kids are somewhat ho hum when it comes to fish, unless it is deep fried calamari, or baked scallops. Still, they are doing better than me and their Nan at their age.

  6. Anonymous4:08 AM

    I didn't like fish until high school or college... possibly when they started getting better at flash freezing and shipping.

    It took until my junior year of college to try a fish taco. I really loved Rubio's, but they've gone down-hill a lot since then. Thankfully fish tacos have spread to higher quality restaurants, and our town's single gourmet foodtruck often has them.

  7. I also don't eat fish! For a long time, like Paola's mother, I claimed to be "allergic," but I stopped that now. (The allergy claim derived from the many years I spent as a picky eater when I was so self-conscious about eating in public every dinner party terrorized me, because of the comments people made about my eating.) I try to give my kids fish, but I'm not very successful at the effort. But my #1 is like Pumpkin - he takes after his mommy and is extremely sensitive to flavors, textures, and smells.

  8. Anonymous6:37 AM

    Ah the infamous taste/smells fishy complaint... That smell usually means the fish is going bad- genuinely fresh fish shouldn't smell like anything at all (and taste is largely smell-based). When I go grocery shopping, I always ask to smell the cut of fish before they wrap it up for me. As for the salmon tasting fishy- another problem is places like to try and jip people out of their money by dyeing other fish pink, and selling it as salmon when it's not... another thing to be wary of. I hope my fish-lover's two cents helps!

  9. @Anandi- you and Pumpkin! Pumpkin's first favorite restaurant was Islands, or "the birdy restaurant" as it is known in our house.

    @zenmoo- this is definitely not a traditional fish taco recipe. The "original" (in the US, anyway) fish tacos were battered and fried. This is called "Baja-style" but I actually have no idea if it is truly how fish tacos are eaten in Baja. Now there are grilled fish tacos available, too.

    The Yaki tacos at Islands (which claims to be a Hawaiian style burger chain) have a similar sauce, but are chicken.
    @paola- the only fish that either kid will eat is fish sticks. And Pumpkin's gone off those.

    @nicoleandmaggie- I'm sure the fact that I grew up in a desert didn't help my relationship with fish. But now I can get really good fish, and I'm still not a fan!

    @Erin, ah yes, the nosy people who think picky eating is a character flaw and therefore feel free (compelled, even) to hassle you about what you won't eat... They now also hassle me about what Pumpkin won't eat. And I still haven't really figured out a satisfactory way to handle them.

    @anonymous- trust me, I've tried very, very fresh fish. It still tastes fishy to me. The only way I can eat fish so far is with a strong sauce. I can handle the smell, though. My climate is warm enough to allow open windows most of the year, and Febreze air freshener helps get the smell out of the air.


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